The last time the Georgetown women’s soccer team made it to the College Cup in 2018, they did it on the backs of a ferocious offense, a stout defense, and superb goaltending from Arielle Schechtman. In 2021, they hope to flip the script, relying on a sound offense and a stifling defense. However, the one constant? A game-changing goalie.
“Big shoes to fill,” junior Allie Augur said of Georgetown’s hallowed goalie tradition, which includes recent players like Schechtman, Anna Leat, Lauren Gallagher, and Alyssa Navarette. “Georgetown has always had great defense and that includes keepers.”
Augur has left her own mark on the program and is not done yet, as she hopes her performance will lead the Hoyas all the way to Santa Clara and to a shot for the national title.
Augur has started all 18 matches for the Hoyas this season, logging nine individual shutouts and contributing to two more on her way to an All-Big East Second Team honor. Thanks to her work, Georgetown finished second in the nation in goals against average (.412), which led the Big East. They were sixth in the nation in shutout percentage, with 11 in 18 games.
Of course, clean sheets are not solely a result of a goalie’s greatness, although Augur’s nine-save performance against Rutgers comes as close to a solo shutout as you can get. The defense in front of her, anchored by graduate defenders Kelly Ann Livingstone and Sydney Cummings, as well as freshman Eliza Turner, has been game-changing.
For her efforts, Cummings was named Big East Defender of the Year after transferring from Brown before the season. Cummings and Livingstone were named to the Big East First Team, while Turner was tabbed for the All-Freshman squad. Augur is grateful for the impact that veterans like Livingstone, Cummings, and fellow graduate student Kaitlyn Parcell have on her and the team’s quality of play.
“Technically and tactically they are superb and it pushes me to be better,” Augur said in an interview with the Voice. “I pick their brains a lot to see how they’re feeling, what they think needs improvement.”
While Augur and company were dominant all year, they really turned on the gas in the final six games, registering five consecutive shutouts before a UConn goal snapped their scoreless streak at nearly 550 minutes.
“We love shutouts,” Augur said with a laugh. “We take it personal when a goal goes in.”
Another decisive aspect of the Hoyas’ defensive dominance is their ability to dominate the middle of the pitch. A lot of that responsibility has fallen at the feet of junior midfielder Julia Leas, who rose to the occasion and earned the Big East Midfielder of the Year award in the process. Leas started every game for the Hoyas and even filled in on the backline when players got nicked up. On the offensive end, Leas scored three goals and five assists, many of them in the biggest moments. Look for a star turn this postseason for the dominant mid from Virginia.
One player that the Hoyas need to step up in the postseason is graduate midfielder Daisy Cleverley, the Big East Midfielder of the Year last season. Cleverley never quite got into a groove this season, missing time for service with the New Zealand national team and other, undisclosed reasons. However, she is fully back now and Cleverley’s poise and creativity will be necessary for Georgetown to create offense if their forwards fall silent for long stretches.
Recently, this has not been a problem, as 10 of the team’s 33 goals were scored in a three-game stretch in October. A big part of that surge has been the dominance of senior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell. The co-team captain finished the season top 20 in the nation with 10 assists and has proven to be a maestro on set pieces, providing an added danger on the pitch to supplement Big East first teamer Gia Vicari.
Vicari has been dominant this year, registering 9 goals and 7 assists. Without the departed Jenna Menta, there was cause to believe Vicari might struggle to match her 10 goal output from last season. She has done that and more, proving time and time again that she is someone that defenses can try to gameplan for, but can never truly stop. Whenever Georgetown has needed a late goal, she has been the one to deliver.
“There is a sense of, if we are in need, Gia is going to get it done. If Gia is in front of the goal, she is going to bury it. No questions,” Augur said.
Vicari’s impact is undeniable. Combining with her is the impact of freshman forward Cyanne Doyle, whose play will be of prime importance in the postseason. Doyle provides a needed secondary scoring option for this squad and registered five goals and five assists in the regular season. With defenses keying in on Vicari, the Hoyas will likely go as far as Doyle can take them.
The path to the NCAA Tournament and beyond will first run through Xavier’s Corcoran Field in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Big East semifinals and finals will take place. Regardless of where they finish in the conference, the next stop will be the 64 team NCAA Tournament. From there lies a difficult path to the Final Four, though Augur believes they have a formula that will lead to unprecedented success for a program that has never won a national championship.
“A big aspect of getting that far in the Tournament is every single person playing their role.,” Augur said. “It’s everyone being willing to go in 100 percent and doing what they do best and the results will follow.”
The Hoyas postseason kicks off on November 4 against the Butler Bulldogs, who finished the season third in the conference. They are led by Big East First Team forward Katie Soderstrom and standout freshman goalie Emma Martin. In their first matchup this year, Georgetown shut down the Butler attack, winning 1-0 on a Cummings goal in the 89th minute. The rematch begins at 7:30 pm EST and will be shown on the Big East Digital Network. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.